HIV prevalence ratio of international migrants compared to their native-born counterparts: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Devy Santoso, Siti K.B.M. Asfia, Maeve B. Mello, Rachel C. Baggaley, Cheryl C. Johnson, Eric P.F. Chow, Christopher K. Fairley, Jason J. Ong

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: People on the move, including international migrants, may face health inequities that expose them to a higher risk for HIV than native-born populations. We conducted a systematic review to calculate the HIV prevalence ratio of international migrants compared with native-born populations. Methods: We searched five databases between January 2010 and March 2022. Using random-effects meta-analysis, we calculated the pooled HIV prevalence ratios (PR) by comparing the HIV prevalence of migrants with native-born populations. Our research protocol is registered in the International prospective register of systematic reviews (PROSPERO, CRD42021250867). Findings: In total, 5,121 studies were screened, and 38 were included in the final analysis: 7,121,699 migrants and more than 270 million natives were included in the analysis. The pooled PR for any foreign-born migrants was 1·70 (95% CI 1·11 – 2·61, I2=99·67%, n = 33 studies), refugees was 2·37 (95% CI 0·33–16·99, I2=99·5%, n = 5), undocumented people was 3·98 (95% CI 0·11–143·01, I2=94·6%, n = 3), whilst asylum seekers was 54·79 (95% CI 17·23–174·23, I2=90·2%, n = 2). Meta-regression revealed that population type (adjusted R-squared 11.5%), region of origin (11.3%) and migrant type (10.8%) accounted for heterogeneity more than country-income (2.4%) and study setting (2.3%). Interpretation: Although it was not possible to assess if HIV infection occurred in the country of origin or destination, the HIV prevalence ratio was higher among migrants than in native-born populations. Inclusive health policies and strategies for delivering HIV testing, prevention and treatment services for migrant populations tailored to their needs are urgently needed. Funding: J.J.O. and E.P.F.C. are supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Emerging Leader Fellowship (GNT1193955 and GNT1172873, respectively).

Original languageEnglish
Article number101661
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • asylum seekers
  • HIV
  • migrants
  • native-born
  • people on the move
  • prevalence
  • refugees

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